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HIGH QUALITY LASER MARKING OF POLYMERIC MATERIALS BY MEANS OF EXCIMER SOURCE

Objective


During the project, novel concepts and components were developed that led to the final prototype excimer laser system capable on marking keycaps on computer keyboards at high speeds. The system architecture adopted was a novel synchronised mask-workpiece type that allowed exceedingly high process speeds to be achieved. Beam delivery components developed for the prototype marking cell included highly efficient beam relay, homogenisation and projection optics for operations at 351 nm. The prototype, integrated in RTM, marked the keyboard (ANK28) delivered by Olivetti both in ABS and in PS. The process parameters were found to mark the keyboards according to the requirements. The mark time showed to be about 12 s, the cycle time less than 15 s. The quality control sensor was tested under operative conditions and was able to detect dummy faulty marked keys.
In collaboration with end users, the partners will develop excimer laser based systems appropriate for marking the keys on computer keyboards. With some minor adaptations it is envisaged that the types of prototype laser marking systems developed will also find wider applicability in other industrial marking areas. The technique of excimer laser marking by induced photochemical changes to pigments loaded into materials such as polymers, ceramics, paper, paint, textiles and composites offers the possibility of character marking components with a highly durable, high resolution noninvasive mark. The technique has the advantage of being a single-step dry process that can function at extremely high marking speeds on materials that might normally be difficult to mark with more conventional methods like dye impregnation, screen printing, ink jets of infrared CO2 laser marking.

The aims of the project are to develop a prototype demonstrator excimer laser machine for marking high quality characters on computers keyboards. It is expected that the technique will provide a relatively cheap, flexible, cleanm evironmentally-friendly alternative to current methods that employs inks and dyes.

Following successful completition of the project the participants will be in a position to develop a fully engineered aximer laser marking systems that can be both incorporated on the end users production lines and actively marketed worldwide for many types of marking applications. This would then place European industry in a preminent position in the supply of such systems and their use in the manufacuting industry.

Funding Scheme

CSC - Cost-sharing contracts

Coordinator

Rtm SpA
Address
Regione Lime
10080 Vico Canavese Torino
Italy

Participants (3)

Exitech Ltd
United Kingdom
Address
Hanborough Park
OX7 2LH Long Hanborough
Ing. C.Olivetti e C. SpA
Italy
Address
Strada Provinciale Tavernett
81025 Cantone Marcianise Caserta
LAMBDA PHYSIK GMBH
Germany
Address
Hans Bockler Straße 12
3400 Göttingen